The Missing Peace: It’s not a play about death. It’s about life.

February 1, 2022 

At some point in our lives, we will all experience the passing of someone we love. You are never really prepared for it and, even if you know it’s coming, nothing can ever make you forget those words ‘they’re gone.’  

The thing to remember is that you are not alone in how you’re feeling. Although, at the time, it can feel that way. And that’s exactly what The Rowntree Player’s stage adaptation of The Missing Peace highlights.

Through a series of 15 monologues, the cast share experiences (from people of all ages) about how they’ve coped with the loss of a loved one. For an incredibly difficult topic, the cast do this in a respectful, heartfelt, and insightful way, really bringing to life the turmoil of emotions felt when someone has passed.

At points in the play – and the book – you’ll pull out words and phrases that connect you to what that ‘character’ is feeling. Allowing you the freedom, and space to bring that connection to the surface, reflect, and understand more about different ‘survival-guides’.  

At points in the play – and the book – you’ll pull out words and phrases that connect you to what that ‘character’ is feeling. Allowing you the freedom, and space to bring that connection to the surface, reflect, and understand more about different ‘survival-guides’.  

It’s important to remember that both the book and play aren’t a ‘quick fix’ to grief and loss. But what they are, is a tool that lets you know you aren’t alone. You have support, even if you don’t know it. And through reading about other’s experiences, you can find different ways to cope with loss.

We spoke to Ian about why he wrote his book, how it feels to have it turned into a stage adaptation and what he hopes the biggest takeaway is.

Tell me a little more about The Missing Peace. Why did you feel this was important to share with people both as a play adaptation and book?

The trigger for me was Father’s Day in 2015. On Father’s Day there are two things going on in the world – one group of people saying, ‘my dad is better than yours’ and the other saying, ‘I wish my dad was here.’  This made me think. Every day of the year has a relevance for someone, whether that’s a joyous occasion or one that rips your heart out.

What I wanted to show was that it’s important to have empathy and understanding. In a crowd of people, you don’t know what today is for them.

I also knew lots of people who were losing friends and family and some of their support network felt unskilled and didn’t have the strategies to help, so were reverting to ‘I’ll just not get in touch’. I wrote the book to show how we can listen, help, and support people. A kind of manual of how to be a better friend and more aware.

The book took me three years to write, and I interviewed a lot of people. It’s based on real people’s lives so that you can see parallels and relate to the experiences.

Did you always hope to turn it into a stage adaptation?

Not at all. One of my friends is a director and actress and got in touch with me to say she could see it on stage. It was a dream I never knew I had, so of course I had to do it. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Gemma McDonald, the Director for how the play looked and felt.

What do you hope people take away from the performance?

The power of hope and a second chance. And to know that it’s not happiness to replace or fill that hole, it’s something different. I’d also like people to take away that they are not alone. We are all broken biscuits and have missing pieces. We can either dwell on that or we can come together with all our broken biscuits and make the best cheesecake in the world.

What’s a stand out moment in the play and why?

There’s one monologue that was written for the play. It’s a girl who is speaking to her dad by texting him. How many of us have someone whose passed in our phone? How many of us message them, leave voice notes, or speak to their answering machine? This monologue will show people that they are not an island – when we come together and support each other, we join up to become a mainland.

How do you think we can support people who are experiencing a loss?

Everyone deals will grief differently, but it’s important that you let them know you’re here to help in whatever way is best for them.

If you don’t know what to say to someone – then say that. Explain you feel out of your depth but that you want to help, and you are here for them. Keep checking in – whether that’s by a phone call, texting or going round to pop the kettle on.

Another helpful thing to do is ask them how many out of 10 they are today. Everyone has their own sort of scales, but it will help them begin to understand what can turn a 4 into a 7. When words aren’t any use, take food round, do the washing for them, or even walk the dog.

A new normal is a hard thing to achieve but we can do it, together.

How do we encourage more people to have conversations about death, loss, and later life?

Lots of people think that talking about dying tempts fate. But look at it this way, you wouldn’t go on a plane if the pilot didn’t know how to land. We need to talk about the landing.

What if we aren’t here? We aren’t replaceable. Throughout life, you’ll find your tribe, your people and they will be the perfect people to support you through a difficult time.

You need to have those difficult conversations so that they know how to help you when the time comes.

Planning ahead for the future so you don’t leave your family in a mess is important. You spend most of your life looking after them, making sure they are protected so why would you leave them with worries when you pass?

If you are in the process of thinking about how you can help your loved ones further down the line, get in touch. Our team will be happy to talk to you about later life planning.

The stage adaptation of The Missing Peace is now finished but you can find his book online.

Compare Our Funeral Plans

A quick and easy way to find the perfect funeral plan for you.